Trumpeter 1/48 Seahawk FGA.6 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2007||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Hawker Seahawk FGA.6||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||2826||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Excellent detailing throughout||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$44.95|
The Sea Hawk was a single-seat fighter that was designed by Hawker in the late 1940s, but further development and production of the type was transferred to Armstrong Whitworth (AW) in 1953. Powered by the Rolls Royce Nene 101 engine, the Sea Hawk F.1 (produced in limited numbers by Hawker and the remainder by AW) entered service with the Royal Navy. The Sea Hawk F.2 followed with the addition of hydraulic-boosted ailerons.
The Sea Hawk gained a fighter-bomber capability with the FB.3 and FGA.4 versions. The FB.5 (and a number of retro-fitted FB.3) received the more powerful Rolls Royce Nene 103 engine. The Sea Hawk FGA.6 (as well as some re-fitted FGA.3) and the Sea Hawk Mk.50 were fitted with the Nene 104, equipped with US-made radios, and modified in 1959 to carry the Sidewinder missile.
When Egypt seized the Suez Canal in July 1956, Sea Hawks aboard the HMS Eagle, Albion and Bulwark participated in a pre-emptive strike on Egyptian airfields while joint British-French forces seized key points around the canal before international pressure brought the crisis to an end. Allied aircraft participating in the Suez action wore black and yellow invasion stripes for quick identification.
I was pleasantly surprised when Classic Airframes announced their 1/48 Hawker Sea Hawk kits back in 2004 and even more pleasantly surprised when I received a copy for review. Classic Airframes has courage to render into kit form subjects that most model companies fear to touch. The kit was a nicely done multimedia kit, which by definition limits its appeal to modelers comfortable working with limited run styrene, resin and photo-etch (and sometimes other stuff) parts. For a look at the Classic Airframes kit in the box, go here.
So imagine my surprise when Trumpeter announces that they're doing that very same Sea Hawk in the very same scale three years later! Just before I started to ponder why Trumpeter would produce a mainstream kit of this niche subject, I remembered that they were also doing the 'Dicker Max', a German self-propelled gun that I don't believe the Germans made more than two of in real life. And not only did Trumpeter produce the Dicker Max kit, DML released their kit rendition of the same vehicle at the same time. Go figure.
At any rate, this kit represents a new phase in kit design for Trumpeter. A very welcome change! If you'll recall their early kits, Trumpeter tried to be innovative with their larger subjects by replicating the flight control hinges in photo-etch. After enough anguish from their customers, they found other ways for modelers to position their flight control surfaces.
Next, someone decided to take an artistic approach to surface detailing by recreating rivet details with recessed holes in the surface of the plastic. Once again, there was enough 'feedback' from the modeling community that this release is their first without the recessed rivets.
The kit is rendered on five parts trees molded in light gray styrene, one tree of clear parts, and a small frett of photo-etched details. An acetate sheet is also provided with the instrument faces printed upon it to go behind that photo-etched panel.
I must say that Trumpeter did an outstanding job with the detailing of this kit. They've not only captured the detailing of the Classic Airframes kit, in some areas they've improved upon it. There is more detail in this cockpit, though as with the Classic Airframes kit, much of this will be lost given that the British cockpits in this era were black.
Breakdown of this kit is very similar to the Classic Airframes kit with forward fuselage rendered in top and bottom halves and the rear fuselage rendered as left and right halves. Likewise the wings are designed to be posed in flight position or folded.
Some nice differences in this kit:
- Flaps/speed brakes are molded separately and are positionable
- Canopy is two-piece and is positionable
- Underwing rockets are provided
- Engine exhaust ducts are provided
This kit provides three marking options:
- FGA.6, XE365, 804 Sqn, B/171, HMS Bulwark, Suez Crisis, 1956
- FGA.6, WV918, 810 Sqn, Z/230, HMS Albion, Suez Crisis, 1956
- FGA.6, WV824, 801 Sqn, C/122, HMS Centaur, 1959
I like this kit! While I did enjoy building the Classic Airframes kit (look here), this kit addresses a few things I wish had been done differently, like a two-piece canopy. It was a shame to close up that resin cockpit! The one thing I noticed in the Trumpeter instructions is that they neglect to mention nose ballast. Even with that big honking resin cockpit tub in the Classic Airframes kit, I still stuffed 10 grams of lead in that nose to keep the model from sitting on its tail. This kit has as much styrene aft of the center of gravity with none of the resin forward, so you'll have to compensate with more ballast.
This kit will have appeal to a larger audience of FAA modelers given that the extent of photo-etch in this kit is limited to an instrument panel face and the seatbelt/harness and there are no resin parts in the box. While that is not to say that some aftermarket company won't create some resin parts for this kit, this will be a straightforward build for the average modeler.
While my interests lie in other subject areas, I must say that I enjoyed building that first Sea Hawk enough that I bought this one as a potential follow-on.